Artist Spotlight! Hysterical Melancholy



Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up, and how did you become interested in design? Was there a pivotal moment that you remember?

From a very young age, I was always interested in art, collecting, and creating. I was a big fan of the show Art Attack! I often tried starting art hustles, drawing comic books and selling them to my classmates in elementary school. In high school, I took on drawing commissions and did portraiture. I made a few notable acrylic paintings for my MMA gym at the time (shoutout to Coach Rich from Straight Blast Gym Niagara for commissioning a large-scale Conor McGregor painting and a portrait of Matt Thorton, the gym founder). Additionally, I enjoyed collecting old antiques and items from the flea market near my house, which sold all kinds of old tech, games, movies, and toys. These experiences inspired me and left a lasting mark.


Why do you believe nostalgia is such a powerful force for so many people? How do you translate that feeling into your art?

Nostalgia connects us with the past in a meaningful way. Collaging throwback images and references framed by retro user interfaces establishes this feeling. These ‘visualizers’ are curated nostalgia and recreated memories captured in a modern way. In this digital age, everyone has used a computer and operated software, so I showcase internet and software history to illustrate the progression of time and culture. I also delve into archives and obscure UI asset pages to find graphics, creating mini time capsules that preserve internet history.




What inspires you most about creating your artwork, and what image or idea are you ultimately trying to convey to your audience?

For @hysterical_melancholy, music trends, popular fashion, and rock culture are my main points of interest. I miss the days when popular culture was centralized, exposing many people to the same sounds and vibes. I aim to capture this by presenting artists and niche aesthetics interestingly. I want to share my taste in music and create visuals to accompany it. In a world divided by search engines and social media bubbles, I see it as a challenge to break into mainstream appeal and share the underground, forgotten, or unusual with the masses while engaging with current trends.

How do you feel the cultural and philosophical themes of Vaporwave have influenced your artwork?

From 2015 to 2019, I was a big fan of vaporwave and its underlying ideas. Though I never experienced the 80s or 90s, vaporwave echoed that time, reflecting forgotten feelings, emotions, and aesthetics of a bygone era my parents spoke of almost mythically. Growing up lower middle class in a small town in the 2000s, I was intrigued by old movies, cars, malls, aesthetics, and technology, and how time changes everything. I always respected the past and traditions. As a kid, we were encouraged to engage with computers, seen as the future by teachers and elders.


Do you have a work ritual? Take us through the process of creating your art.

I don't have a strict work ritual, just an urge to create in this meme style. Sometimes ideas stand out, while other times, I dig to find the right pieces. It’s about having various vibes and references, understanding the subject matter, time period, and culture. I try to add flavors of Cyber-grunge, Cyber-punk, or ‘Web-Punk,’ making the web gritty using the theme's vibes. I enjoy the process and keep some secrets for the mystery.




Who are some of your favorite artists, business people, creatives, or intellectuals?

Many people have helped and inspired me, particularly those in my personal life who motivated me and recognized the importance of my style. Shoutout to Lucas Radowsky, Jack Dewar, Aidan Millsap, Evan Proctor, and especially my family, mom, and brother for their unwavering support.

Creatively, I'm inspired by music and the vibes artists put out. I like to feel the energy of tracks to depict it in a hyper-internet aesthetic. Some significant influences include:

- Linkin Park

- Nirvana

- Yabujin

- Drain Gang

- Yung Lean

- Daft Punk

- Creed

- Finn McKenty - The Punk Rock MBA

- BLP Kosher

- Sematary

- Lil Peep

- $uicideBoy$

- KoRn

- Lady Gaga

- Davis Clarke

- Soft White Underbelly

- Theo Von

- Joe Rogan


- Larry David


What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

I've had some great opportunities, like working with Oli Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon, collaborating on a design with Julian Casablancas, and working with Faze Clan on some assets. I've also had significant clients who helped fund my creative endeavors (shoutout to Nick from Truck City Chrome). Every commission and design request is exciting and different.





Please tell us something about yourself that we may not know that influences your work.

I have eclectic influences, and for some time, I worked as a technical analyst for the Canadian government. I worked on innovative projects in the Ministry of Transportation, where the culture was interesting and slightly dystopian. The job involved using dated technology and software, implementing new systems, and communicating UI changes and bugs to clients. During lunch breaks, I would draw in old software/programming manuals, enjoying the juxtaposition.

Later, I worked for the University of Waterloo doing marketing and design for the faculty of environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything was online, causing personal challenges with constant screen time. To this day, I dislike being on my phone too much and absorbing overwhelming amounts of information, but it's part of the job.


What are your plans for the future and direction of your work? How do you see yourself growing as an artist?

I want to branch into the physical space with the Cyber-Trash style, creating new merch and cool products. Beyond that, I aim to return to my roots of drawing and painting surreal aesthetics, incorporating UI and software-related elements. Handcrafted styles combined with old web weirdcore or surrealism could be interesting but time-consuming.

Adapting to the environment is crucial, and only time will reveal what needs to change. I've been experiencing burnout and prioritizing time away from screens. These edits epitomize internet brain rot, and finding good resources requires a hyper-online mentality. Creating systems to reduce screen time is a priority.



Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

If you have a passion for creating, don't quit. Transform your creative spirit into different mediums if needed, take breaks, and ruminate on your ideas. Create something every day to give yourself purpose and hone your skills. Share your work with the world, and people will recognize it. Using Instagram as a portfolio helped me collect and post my favorite pieces, and over time, I learned different ways to present myself and adapt direction.

With the oversaturation of art on social media, it's beneficial to acquire business-valuable skills like video editing, marketing, web design, graphic design, and SEO. These skills will help establish solid contracts with brands, collaborators, and businesses.


Final Thoughts?

I try to have fun and stay motivated by creating for the love of it. As my accounts grow, I'm taking everything more seriously, building lore, and tackling new challenges. Although time-consuming and with bills to pay, optimizing promotional work and creative business helps keep new things coming out. I'm grateful to everyone who has supported the @hysterical_melancholy project, including collaborators, brands, friends, and family.


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